snow thrower won't throw

jeffismeDecember 18, 2007

After reading this feel free to call me an idiot, but as an idiot I have a question or two someone might be able to answer.

I've used a shovel all my life to clear snow. Last month, I inherited a Craftsman snow thrower, two stage, which I thought would be great for our gravel driveway. The machine had been used four times. It looked pristine. When it snowed, I took it out and ran it, and the chute kept throwing the snow straight up. I realized it was torn at the base. After some surgery, I was able to secure it to the collar.

The next day, I took it out and started it, but instead of turning, the auger just squealed and all kinds of smoke began coming out of the engine. I shut it down and took a look. I knew about shear pins and that they break, but didn't see any on the augur shaft. I just saw two bolts. I called a friend. He said that's where the shear pins go, so I took out the bolts and replaced them with the pins. Of course, when I started it again, all I got was a squeal.

So the question is, have I stripped the gears in the drive shaft by not changing the bolts and putting the pins in? Or could it be something else? Can I open the gear case and do a repair, or is this something I have to (god help me) depend on Sears to fix? What I don't understand is until I shut it off after the snow was shooting straight up, the augur was working fine.

It's pretty cold here, it also occurred to me that after I used it the first time, ice got under the impeller and froze it. Today, I ran a hair dryer all over the area, but after cleaning out any ice, I still can't move the impeller, nor does the augur turn.

Anything I can check or try before calling repair. Have I destroyed the damn thing? Any advice (even go back to the shovel) would be appreciated. Thanks,

jeff

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99solara

1) get a manual for the beast;

(as u probably know, sears makes nothing. some web research will let u know if its a murray, mtd, etc based uponm its serial #
2) there are 2 belts. one may have slipped or be broken
3) u do not have to go to sears. any small engine shop can help
4) shear bolts are bolts
5) did u check the oil level?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 6:27PM
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jeffisme

Yes, I checked the oil level before starting the first time. It was full. I have a manual. I see the augur drive belt cover. If the belt has slipped, would that stop the augur from turning?

Anything else I should check while I am at it?

thanks again.

jeff

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 7:50PM
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tomplum

My bet is there is still ice or a fastner holding the impeller. Maybe damage was also done to the belt as it was attempting to turn the auger pulley. If the impeller is free, you should be able to turn the big pulley-which in turn should turn the auger. Maybe even take a bar or pipe and a hammer thru the chute and tap on the impeller (with reasonable force) to see if it will break free. If you would have damaged the gear box, they don't as a rule bind up-rather strip the worm gear inside- tho it is possible. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 12:12AM
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canguy(British Columbia)

There is a brake on the lower pulley which should disengage when the belt is tightened. It may be jammed. Remove the belt cover and have a look with a flashlight. Otherwise, the second stage fan is likely jammed with a foreign object or bent against the housing.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:15AM
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jeffisme

I'll go out this afternoon to check, but one more quick question. with the shear pins in, should I be able to turn the impeller and the augur freely when I reach under the hood?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:48AM
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tomplum

The answer is . . .maybe. The impeller turns much faster than the auger. So the gear ratio is working against you to spin the auger. On many you can turn the auger and it will spin the impeller. Everything has to be working freely, no brake present on the imput pulley, no belt drag etc. You should be able to turn the impeller or imput pulley however- provided there is no brake as Canguy suggested.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 12:59PM
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jeffisme

just wanted to say thanks for all the helpful suggestions. I opened up the belt cover, and it appeared loose but not too bad, so then I got the brilliant idea to tilt the machine all the way back and pour warm water all over the impeller and work it in. That loosened up the ice chunks, some hidden some open, and then I put it all back together, started it up and it worked fine.

A tea kettle sure makes a handy tool sometimes.

thanks again,

jeff

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 4:56PM
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jubol(7 De)

Jeff,
In the future, when you are through blowing snow.
Run the auger for about a minute to clear out snow or ice before shutting down!!
Fred

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 6:55PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

Good to hear. Snowblower troubleshooting 101 is done for the day. LOL.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:40PM
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biglumber(5)

Jeff,
You kept with your original thought. Good to hear it is working.
You need a warm garage.

Peace

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 8:42AM
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akachrisinmass

I'm now wondering if this is why my 12 year old sears snowblower's impeller squeaked like a mouse and now wont turn.

It all feels locked solid now. Having left it outside for a few days perhaps didn't help. I've driven it to the my barn and hopefully it will come back to life

Am I pushing my luck with a 12 year old blower thats lived in Mass all its life?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 8:11PM
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